GYMS in Penang are struggling to stay afloat as they eagerly wait for the green light to reopen.
Gym manager JJ Ooi said gym operators were ready to offer their services to the public again.
“We have reopened before during the pandemic so we are accustomed to the standard operating procedures (SOP).
“We already know what to do,” said Ooi, who manages two gyms that are part of a chain.
Ooi said they had been closed since May this year.
“We are curious that swimming pools and cinemas can reopen but we are not allowed to do so.
“All in during this pandemic, we have been closed for over eight months – three months last year and five this year.”
Ooi said personal trainers had suffered the most as for some, it was their only job.
“They have resorted to other jobs like delivering food to make ends meet.
“I offer online classes but only 20% of the people seem to be okay with that as they prefer face-to-face sessions,” he said.
Gym trainer Steven Mark James, 31, who has represented Malaysia in bodybuilding competitions, has seen a drastic drop in his income.
He prefers face-to-face sessions and does not like providing online lessons as it is difficult for people to understand instructions that way.
“When it is allowed, I go house to house for my sessions.
“I was working for a gym but now, we are unsure when the gyms will reopen.
“We have been back and forth with the varying information given.
“It has been different as I am a bodybuilder and have to sustain myself and keep fit.
““I need to take supplements and need an income to support that.
“I have resorted to doing other jobs, sometimes holding two to three jobs a day,” he said.
It was reported that the Youth and Sports Ministry had prepared the SOP for the gym reopening but the health ministry had issues about the ventilation system.
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faisal Azumu had last week appealed to Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin to allow gyms to reopen.
Khairy had replied that the Health Ministry would develop ventilation guidelines with the National Security Council (NSC).
It is believed these guidelines are not ready and as such, the NSC cannot allow gyms to reopen yet. Penang youth and sports committee chairman Soon Lip Chee said he hoped gyms would be able to operate again by the end of the year.